by Judy Moore
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
She gives up everything she knows to move cross countrv to live with her new husband, a widower, and his five-year-old son.
Everything seems idyllic until they arrive at her husband's oceanfront home, and she meets her mother-in-law. There's something strange about the woman and the mother/son relationship.
It's not long before her suspicions begin to overwhelm her as she becomes ensnared in the secrets and lies of her new family.
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The cool ocean air felt refreshing until she realized goose bumps had begun to appear on her arms and then across her entire body. Something was off, and it was giving her chills. She had a feeling that she wasn’t alone. A sixth sense told her that someone was watching her. Her body tensed, and she squinted out into the darkness.
Scanning the patio, she slowly turned around toward the house. Then she saw her, saw her silhouette, standing in the window staring down at her. Her mother-in-law didn’t move away from the window, didn’t wave, but just stood and stared down at Victoria. Victoria held her gaze for what seemed like at least a minute. Then, finally, the drape slid across the window, and her mother-in-law was gone.
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I start with the victim and the killer and the why. Then I start masking the killer and the why, and spread other storylines around the crime to confuse the reader and throw them off the trail. The key for me is keeping the reader interested. To bore them is the ultimate sin. I like setting a scene so the reader can feel and see each scene, but I’m going to do that fairly quickly. I can’t stand reading books where the author spends a page describing a tree. I think that’s self-indulgent of the writer and torture for the reader. I would never dream of doing that to someone who bought my book to have a pleasurable reading experience.
What is your favorite genre to read & write?
I love to read and write mysteries, especially whodunits. I expect good dialogue and a lot of humor as well. That’s my goal when I write too. Down-to-earth characters who sometimes find themselves interacting with some pretty zany, unpredictable people. My books are always PG-rated. I'm no prude, but I don't like to read sex scenes and I certainly don't like to write them. I think that often they're just a distraction from the story line.
Do you have a favorite author whose books you love to read?
I have a couple of favorite authors. Carl Hiaasen is probably the first. He’s so funny and so out there. What an imagination. And he actually lives in my new hometown, Vero Beach, Florida. The other is Michael Connelly who writes fabulous crime dramas, including the Harry Bosch detective novels and The Lincoln Lawyer series. They’re both Floridians and attended University of Florida’s journalism school where I went.
How did you come up with the title of your latest book, The Mother-in-Law?
I think there is high interest in the relationship between new spouses and their mothers-in-law. Will they get along? Will there be problems? Mothers-in-law often get a bad rap, usually unwarranted, but in this case, rightfully so. So I wanted to keep the title simple. I think the name The Mother-in-Law, along with the image I chose, portrays the mysterious nature of the book.
What is your approach to writing?
I write in a simple journalistic style. Grab the reader’s attention and hold on to it. Use quotes effectively and succinctly. Above all, don’t let the reader get bored. Keep the story interesting and keep it moving! The biggest challenges in writing mysteries is to give the readers enough clues without giving away the killer.
Why do you write what you write?
I grew up reading Agatha Christie and have always loved reading and watching mysteries. When I took an early retirement from my full-time editing job, I decided it was time to start writing mysteries myself. In the past few years, I’ve written three mystery novels and six novellas. The Mother-in-Law, a thriller, is my latest. Readers seem to really like it and it was fun to write. Murder in Vail is probably my favorite, a whodunit about a family home for the holidays who find themselves snowbound with a killer in their midst.
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